Total area sown under paddy is lower by 10 per cent so far in this kharif season at 5.75 lakh hectares, while pulses acreage is down 37 per cent mainly due to delay in onset of monsoon.
Farmers have sown pulses in 1.46 lakh hectares so far in the ongoing kharif season of the 2016-17 crop year as against 2.32 lakh hectares in the same period last year.
"Preliminary reports of crop coverage in the kharif season have started coming in. The total sown area as on 10th June, as per reports received from the states, stands at 71.24 lakh hectare as compared to 76.65 lakh hectare at this time last year," an official statement said.
After a delay of almost seven days, southwest monsoon hit Kerala on June 8. India Meteorological Department (IMD) has projected an "above normal" rainfall this year. According to Agriculture Ministry data, paddy acreage is 5.75 lakh hectare so far this Kharif as against 6.42 lakh hectare in the corresponding period of last year. Area under coarse cereals is also down by 47 per cent at 2.01 lakh hectares so far compared with 3.82 lakh hectares in the year ago period.
In non-food grains category, oilseeds acreage is lower at 0.72 lakh hectares so far as against 1.22 lakh hectares in the same period last kharif. Cotton sowing is also lagging behind by 31 per cent at 9.87 lakh hectares compared with 14.30 lakh hectares in the year-ago period. However, sugarcane area is up at 44.38 lakh hectares so far against 41.01 lakh hectares in the same period last year. With the onset of South-West monsoon, the government expects sowing operations to gain momentum.
"The monsoon is arriving at almost the same time as IMD predicted. We are hopeful and optimistic that there will be higher sowing and a very good production this year. Overall, this will be good year for agriculture," Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Patnaik had said earlier this week. India's foodgrains production stood at around 252 million tonnes (MT) during the 2015-16 and 2014-15 crop years (July- June) due to two consecutive drought year.
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